Friday, June 22, 2012

36 - Alice Brooks Butterfly

 Months ago when we were paper piecing, someone sent me a link to this block and asked if it was possible to paper piece it.  No such luck.  In fact when I saw it I thought "there is no way I would EVER make that block" so of course I had to make it as one of the challenge blocks in the sampler.  :)

I had started to hand draft the block, but Marlene was a total hero and drafted it up for us in EQ7.  Thank you!!!

The Alice Brooks Butterfly Block incorporates the skills of using templates and sewing curves and inset seams.  It will certainly put all of the skills we have learned to the test.

Do you have what it takes to make this last block in the 
We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler?  :)
 (scroll down for instructions)

Edited (4/15):  The Skill Builder Sampler will soon be available for purchase in book form!  It has been renamed "You Can Quilt!  Building Skills for Beginners" but covers the same skills with the easy, medium and challenging blocks and is a million times better than the original quilt along.  It is perfect for the beginning quilter or the experienced quilter who wants to branch out and learn new skills.  Find more information and pre-order a signed copy in my Etsy shop or pre-order on Amazon.  The Skill Builder Sampler tutorials will remain up until the book is released.  After release, some will be removed.

 Step One:  Download the templates.  Save to your computer and print from the saved file.  Make sure the 1 inch line is really one inch.  Cut out the templates and gather your fabric.

 Step Two:  Cut out the templates.  Cut two of each template except for the wing wedges (template V) - cut six of them.
The two pieces of fabric need to be mirror images of each other (one for each side of the butterfly).  The easiest way to do this is to simply fold the fabric in half (right or wrong sides together), pin and cut out the piece.

 When you take them apart there will be two pieces that are mirror images of each other.  Sweet!

 If your scraps aren't big enough to fold, simply cut out one piece with the front of the template up...

Then flip the template over onto the backside and cut out the second piece.

Either method works equally well.

 Of course, you can always trace the template and cut around the line.  I like to pin my folded piece of fabric together before cutting to be sure that the fabric doesn't shift.
 Lay out all of the pieces.  Pay special attention to the background piece in the upper right and bottom left corner (template H).  It is almost, but not quite symmetrical and you don't want to get them mixed up.

 Step 3: Sewing
Sew together the three wing wedges (template V).

 Mark the middle of the quarter circle (template U) and wedges by ironing or marking with a pen.

 Pin the middle mark together.  Pin the ends together.  Ease the fabric in between the pins and pin again.  Carefully sew along the curve making sure to avoid puckers.  Slow and steady wins the race.


 Sew the wing tip (template P) to the background piece (template H).

 Pin as shown.

 Sew on template D.

 Then add on template Q, the lower wing point.

 Join the two pieces together.  Line up the wedge seams with the seams between the wing points and background piece.  Pin at the seams.  Ease in the fabric and pin between the seams.  Sew.
 Press and give yourself a pat on the back!

 Make a mark a quarter inch from both ends of template N, the butterfly torso.  Sew from mark to mark.

 Sew template E between the torso and bottom wing with inset seams.  Check out this post for a refresher on inset or y-seams.


 Next, attach template I to the top of the butterfly.  Again make a mark a quarter inch in from the corner and use inset seams.

 Press.  Beautiful!

 The hard part is over!  Simply sew template J to the top of the butterfly unit.

 Repeat the process for the other half of the block.  Can you tell which half I made first? Eek!!  :)
Sew the halves together and trim to 12.5 inches square if necessary. 

Using a washable fabric marking pen draw on the butterfly antennae.  I followed the seam line for awhile and then curved down.  Use an embroidery or machine stitch to outline the antennae.

I machine stitched mine with the zigzag width at 2 and stitch length at .5.  I back stitched at the beginning and end of the antennae.

And that is it!  The last block in the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.  I can't believe it!  Not that it is over - we still have to get these blocks turned into a quilt.  We will work at a reasonable pace at that over the next few weeks to put the top put together.  Tune in next Friday for a giveaway and the first step for getting your blocks turned into a quilt.

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  1. I am sooooooo excited about this block! What a way to round out this quilt along. Thank you so much for all your hard work Leila, you are a wonder!
    I best get cracking...

  2. This block is beyond my skill level right now, but it is lovely, and I appreciate your showing us all the steps.

  3. CUTE!!! I'm still scared, though.

  4. Que linda,obrigada.Já imprimi e vou fazer no final de semana.Te mando uma foto por E-mail depois de pronta. Deus te abençoe,estava mesmo precisando de novidades,beijo.

  5. Hi Leila,
    Just dropping by to say thank you very much for all your hard work and advice for the past 12 months. I haven't kept up to date with the last few months because I have been busy making charity quilt tops, which have all been the quick and easy variety for obvious reasons! I have learnt a HUGE amount from your tutorials, and have printed out all your instructions for the first dozen blocks. I didn't go on with the more complex ones though, because I'm not really into the paper piecing and more complex patterns. But it is great to see what others have accomplished!

  6. Holy cow - it's a beauty! When I get back from vacation in a week I'll catch up and get the last couple of blocks done. Thanks, Leila!

  7. I may have to try that cute butterfly:)

  8. I just posted my butterfly to the flickr group and it suddenly hit me that it's all over! Sad! Thanks for the fabulous challenge, Leila. I never would have tried all these scary things like y-seams and curves without you.

  9. Done! I am so excited! I have to go back and make one in my new fabric that I only have in the old stuff then I have 36 blocks! Thanks for all your hard work putting this together, it was so fun!

  10. Your butterfly is gorgeous. Thank you so much for creating this well-written and photographed tutorial, and for linking to my post of this pattern. I re-drafted this block, eliminating the seams in the square background piece and the butterfly body, and also adding a 4th piece to the edges of the wing (to accommodate my vintage quilt pieces). This makes the stitching slightly more complicated, but also eliminates some of the bulk.

  11. That is a really nice block. I like it very much

  12. I saw this block in a magazine many years ago & have been searching for it- to no avail!
    Thank you so so have made my day